Caroline Milliken, a dual MCRP/MPP student at the Bloustein School, has been a named Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) finalist by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The Presidential Management Fellows program is a highly-selective and prestigious two-year paid government fellowship sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management for recent graduate students who seek a fellowship in a United States government agency. The fellowship includes leadership development, training, and rotations among various Federal agencies.
As a dual MCRP/MPP student, Caroline has concentrated her studies in Community Development and Housing. In addition to her coursework, she has served as the Lending Fellow at the New Brunswick-based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), New Jersey Community Capital, since May 2017. She has also served as a grant writer for the emergency food and social services agency, Elijah’s Promise, since July 2018. These various positions have served to strengthen her career interest in providing affordable housing and economic development opportunities for low- and moderate- income communities.
Caroline also serves as a Graduate Student Recruiter for the Bloustein School, coordinating prospective student visits and the annual open house event. Originally from the rural community of West Alexandria, Ohio, Caroline graduated with a B.A. in English and Strategic Communication from The Ohio State University in 2016 before moving to New Jersey to attend the Bloustein School.
Why did you apply to the PMF?
I applied to PMF because I believe in the government’s ability to positively impact people’s lives. Growing up, my grandmother served as the mayor of my small, rural community, and her dedication to public service has always inspired me to follow a similar path. As a student of community development and housing policy, I am also keenly aware of how the federal government, in particular, can impact the programs and policies that affect low-income communities. This program would allow me to be a part of the conversation and put my passion to use at the highest level of decision-making.
Which agencies or programs are you interested in?
Given my focus in housing, I am of course interested in serving at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, many agencies are doing interesting and important work that I think would also be a good fit, such as the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service department or the Small Business Association. One of the exciting features of the PMF program is the opportunity to pursue rotational assignments so that I might gain experience in a number of these agencies and positions throughout the two-year appointment.
What kind of assignments/postings do you hope to do?
I hope to serve as a policy or program analyst within the agencies I mentioned above.
What are your career aspirations?
My time at the Bloustein School has opened my eyes to the breadth of opportunities available to those in the planning and policy fields, so I am remaining open to a number of different paths. Long-term, I hope to use my government experience to add value to nonprofit affordable housing initiatives, particularly in the Midwest where the impacts of the foreclosure crisis still persist.
Anything else you want to share?
I just want to thank the faculty and career services staff at the Bloustein School and Bloustein PMF alumni for not only helping me prepare for the application process and also supporting me throughout my time as a student.